Hope you are all doing fabulously well. It has been quite some time since I’ve reached out to you here and I’ll spare you all the details, but what I’ll call some ‘LFF Operations and Competition’ Management requirements has kept me away….but I’m back! Brace yourselves!!!! J
So while I’ve been “away” I’ve observed an increase in the number of conversations around coaching, personal brand building, authenticity, being fearless, being brave, and being fearlessly brave. It’s been quite inspiring but it has also really pressed me to help increase clarity around the reality of personal brand building. As someone with a passion for this area of focus, I am always attuned to conversations around this aspect of our existence, especially when I am questioned about what it means to me and how I incorporate it into my coaching practice. So what’s my point here? Well, I think this is a perfect opportunity to visit/revisit what personal branding really is all about and some keys to success in pursuing either the development of your personal brand or managing it after you’ve put in the work to bring it to where it is!
Ok, so in terms of what personal branding actually is, just google the item and you will find different answers, lots of advice, tons of programs and the like. From an LFF standpoint, I really do try to keep it pretty simple. Essentially, personal branding/personal brand building is nothing more than going trhough the truly personal process of self-discovery, self-definition and self-distinction to facilitate a positive experience for all who interact with you, in a way that is consistent with your values….essentially your authenticity. Check out a few of my previous posts on this for some additional insight into this:
Now, what does it really take to be successful in the process of personal brand building? So glad you asked J It’s really quite simple (don’t you love it when people say that…#eyeroll). Ok, maybe simple isn’t the right way to look at it but I will say straightforward when coupled with proactive intention….how’s that J A couple of months ago I was asked to share a summary of “keys to personal branding success” with some Babson folks. Here’s what I shared, with some additional insight just for you!
- Position authenticity as your guide and target
I think it goes without saying that you really have to stay true to yourself but so many find this to be quite difficult. In fact, I would submit that we are all challenged by this, just to different degrees with some more so than others. Ultimately, as you focus your efforts on your personal brand, always focus on staying true to who you are. This doesn’t mean you can’t aspire to having the same characteristics of others that can be developed but just don’t limit your potential to imitation. Instead, focus on authentic replication, as you see fit, but set priority on what you already bring to the table.
- Know without question who you are and that entails
It actually amazes me how many of us don’t really take the time to know who we are. My path recently crossed with that of another and what is most impressive about this individual is his lack of question as to who he is. He knows through and through who he is, what he brings to the world, what he chooses not to, how he shows up, how others may/do perceive him, what he’s comfortable with, what he’s not….I could keep going but ultimately, you get the point…he’s done the work to know his history, know how he shows up, and what his intentions are through and through. There is no value high enough to place on this. Go for broke on this one!
- Seek feedback, proactively
I am a feedback junkie like none other. No, not just for compliments, but I can actually acknowledge that I may have a slight obsession with always learning how I can be better, where I can improve (ask my friends…they’re rolling their eyes as we ‘speak’). The challenge is we reserve this idea of finding out what others’ perspectives are just for the workplace. We wait for mid-year or final reviews to find out how we’re doing…how we’re showing up. In reality, we should really be doing this as much as possible….or ok, just with a more regular cadence. No, it doesn’t mean you’re obsessed with what others’ think of you. It just simply shows that you’re interested in determining to what degree your perspective and intention on how you show-up actually is reflected in the perspectives of others. You will always have a choice in what you will accept and what you will discard. Gasp! You mean I can actually just not care about the feedback? Ummmm, yeah!!! Totally up to you!
- Own your brand
Living in a world where you have to spend more energy not engaging in social media than engaging, you really have to be intentional about not only how you show up, but where you show up as well. There isn’t enough time in the day to share the examples of where some of us have fallen short in managing our online profiles-linkedin, facebook, twitter, Instagram etc, so I’ll just say this…make it a priority to reflect who you are in the best light, with authentic intention wherever there may be a chance someone else can get even a glimpse of you.
- Employ and engage confidence
A bit cheesy but this point reminds me of the song you learn in Sunday school or private school…This Little Light of Mine…..All I will say here is let go of that bushel and let your light shine. There is no benefit to hiding or even limiting the impact of who you are and all that you have to offer this world. Be confident throughout your branding process and as you own all that you are. There’ more to lose in a dim space than one well lit.
- Slate regular “brand checks”
Anything worth its yield requires at least a minimum investment. This goes for branding and the first place to start is with time. I absolutely LOVE my clients. Yes, they invest financially in the coaching engagements they employ me for in their journey, but what is amazing is the time they invest in the coaching process, both when we meet or have a call…AND between our sessions. Yes, I give them homework/assignments (seriously I do) but they actually do invest the time in their brand health to make sure they’re in alignment with their goals. Whether it’s weekly, monthly, quarterly, whatever you choose, just choose and stick with it.
- Focus on impact and legacy of your brand
Branding for branding sake has very limited value, especially when compared to the value in the process when you decide what impact you’re really looking to have. For example, I’m working with a client now who recently just took over a very large team…and this team, simply put…is just a hot mess. She recently engaged me in her coaching journey to help her determine how best to show up. What we had to also focus on was what would be most value for her as it relates to how she is engaging with this team. She has decided to focus her brand on being a resilient leader. What is the impact/legacy you want your brand to have?
- Build an army of advocates
Even Oprah Winfrey has advocates, including some of us. My point here is to make sure you are not going alone in championing for your brand. We all need those who will advocate for us when we’re not there to do so for ourselves. Professionally, I always suggest starting with a mentor, sponsor, and peer advocate-those individuals who will speak up about you, your work, and what it’s like to work with you…positive reinforcement!
- Toot your own horn
This is one practice in which more of us fall short than not. We have a very difficult time talking about our successes, strengths and areas of distinction. I believe because we perceive this as bragging but what we have to recognize is, if we’re not tooting our own horn, we may go unnoticed, and the strongest brands are those that are noticed…for the right reason.
- Nurture the branding process
This is about more than just putting in the time…it’s also about putting in the effort and doing the required work to increase your personal self-awareness, committing to defining how you wish to be perceived, how you will show up, and proactively deciding what impact you will to have in all the circles in which you operate.
See, as promised….pretty simple…….I kid , I kid. But in all seriousness, I don’t think this is something that is difficult but it does require a commitment and investment of time and energy. So, hop to it! And if you’ve got any questions you can always reach out!
Soundtrack of the Week:Authenticity From the mouth of babes is what came to mind when I found this song by the young, Tiffany Alvord. Enjoy!